Where do those small corns served in Chinese entrees come from?
Most of the baby corn sold in the United States and Europe is imported from Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Baby corn is an extremely easy crop to produce, but hand labor is required for harvesting and processing it. That's probably why it hasn't caught on as a cash crop in the otherwise corn-producing United States. You may find it produced locally by small farmers, but most of the imported corn is processed and canned. Fresh corn is not imported. Baby corn is produced from regular corn plants that are harvested early, while the ears are immature. Regular sweet corn, sugar-enhanced sweet corn, and supersweet corn varieties can be used, along with a few varieties that are specific for baby corn.
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How can I grow American bittersweet? Can it be started from seed, or does it need to be started as a plant?
American bittersweet is a deciduous, twining climber grown for its attractive berries. It can be propagated by seed in the autumn or spring or by soft-wood cuttings in the summer. You'll have to check with plant and seed suppliers regarding its availability. Plants should not be harvested from the wild because they are becoming scarce.
How can I control mealybugs on my plants?
If you can get your hands on some tobacco, soak it overnight in water and then use the sludge on your plants. It will kill the bugs. Be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes when trying this method.
I'd like to plant some carrots in a container, since I lack garden space. What do you recommend?
Plant carrots in a 5-gallon window box at least 12 inches deep. Some good varieties to try are 'Short 'n Sweet', 'Danvers Half Long', and 'Tiny Sweet'.
I have some pecan trees in my yard. The fruit of the nut is never good and looks as if it's rotten. Can you tell me what it is or what to do about it?
Pecan scab, a fungus disease, may be the culprit. Fungicide spray should begin two weeks after budbreak. We'd also suggest consulting your county agent through the Cooperative Extension Service. Be sure to burn old hulls and infested nuts in order to control shuckworm and nut weevils.
I have some old radish seeds that I didn't use last year. Can I still use them this year in my garden?
Sure, if they are not more than four to five years old. All the seeds might not germinate, but you'll have plenty that do. By contrast, pepper and corn seeds last only about two years.
Does it matter whether the water I use on my garden is hot or cold?
Some think it does matter and recommend tepid water. They allege that foliage will grow vigorously and flowers be larger if you always water with warm water, rather than some, say, directly from a very cold well or cistern. If this is a challenge for you, just fill up a large container and let it stand until the water warms up.
How do you kill ants in flower beds without harming plants or pets?
Sprinkle some hot pepper flakes where the ants are nesting.